The Regnal Chronologies website is a compilation of rulers who actually governed the states listed, or, at least were officially the Heads of Government, albeit under a regency or combatting opposition from a rebel. Nevertheless, I have been asked a number of times about lines of succession after a particular monarchy has been dissolved or abandoned, and the individuals who would be sovereigns if history had fallen out differently. It is a legitimate topic of discussion, and a question of interest apart from scholarly inquiry. So, what follows are notes and commentary on various dispossessed thrones. The listings will be for the most part European or European-influenced, since regulations involving succession are more precisely set out in that tradition - in Islamic political theory, the successor to a monarch is selected by the incumbent, sometimes with the advice and consent of other members of the dynasty and/or important officials; therefore it is difficult if not impossible to assemble a list of pretenders - the best one can do is indicate who the heads of the family in question were.

Contains: Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia (Cilician), Austria-Hungary, Bavaria, Brazil, British Isles, Bulgaria, Burma, Byzantine Empire, Carolingians, Castile, China, Courland, Egypt, Ethiopia, France (Elder Imperial), France (Official Imperial), France (Legitimist Royal), France (Orléanist Royal), France (Naundorff claim), Georgia, Germany (and Prussia), Greece, Hawaii, Hannover, India, Iran, Italy, Jerusalem, Kashmir, Korea, Laos, Libya, Mallorca, Mexico (Modern), Mexico (Aztec), Montenegro, Navarre, Nepal, Neuchâtel, Norway, Ottoman Empire, Poland, Portugal (modern), Portugal (16th cent.), Romania, Russia, Saxony, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, United States, VietnamWürttemberg, Yugoslavia (Serbia).

AFGHANISTAN An ancient land, with a very complex history. The current state was established in 1747, when the Durrani clan succeeded in creating a central focus of power in the mountainous highlands, following a severe succession crisis in Iran, which had controlled the region from the beginning of the 16th century, more-or-less. The Barakzai clan gained control at the beginning of the 19th century, but cohesion among the tribes was lost (complicated by outside interference from Russia and Great Britain), delaying the evolution of a modern state for another 80 years. The kingdom was overturned in 1973 in a bloodless coup, and the nation has been in turmoil ever since. The exiled sovereign, Muhammad Zahir, was able to return in 2002, and was granted the title of "Father of the Nation" - he reoccupied the old royal palace, and played a significant role in influencing events over the next five years, but specifically disavowed any intention of restoring the monarchy. Afghanistan was one of relatively few Islamic monarchies to have recognized a system of primogeniture, and thus allowing for an inherited claimancy.

ALBANIA A mountainous land in the western Balkans, astride the east shore of the entrance to the Adriatic Sea; Albania has long had a reputation for being ungovernable, and it's history in the 20th century bears that out as numerous authorities abroad and local have tried with varying degrees of success to pacify the hill clans.

ARMENIA (Armenia Minor, Cilicia, Lesser Armenia) In 1080, an Armenian state was established in southern Anatolia, northwest of Antioch, and more-or-less opposite Cyprus. It endured until the late 14th century, when the region was conquered by Turks. In it's latter years, the title had been inherited by the western dynasty which had taken Cyprus, that of de Lusignan. Although descendents of the original Armenian dynasts disputed the Cypriot claim, the de Lusignans retained the title even after the absorption of the region by Muslims.

AUSTRIA-HUNGARY Emperors of Austria and Kings of Hungary. Also Kings of Bohemia, Croatia, Galitzia, and rulers of much else - see just afterwords, the article on Dr. von Habsburg. OTTO von HABSBURG (or, in full [take a deep breath...], Franz Josef Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xaver Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetano Pius Ignazius von Habsburg-Lotharingen)
    Although Otto died in July of 2011, I will leave this note here, in testament to a great European and, within the context of this article, the longest-serving, by far, heir and pretender. Dr. von Habsburg was born in November of 1912 and would, had he succeeded to any of his numerous titular dignities, be by far the longest reigning sovereign, not only in modern times, but in general European history - his father died April 1 1922, which yields an 89 year reign in full; the closest rival is Louis XIV of France at a mere 72 years.
    As heir, not only to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but also to the general Austrian Habsburg heritage, Dr. von Habsburg accumulated an enormous number of dignities and titles - a simple recounting of the official style of the late 19th century Austrian Emperors reads like a roll-call of European civilization:

By the Grace of God, Emperor of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Bohemia, of Dalmatia, Croatia, Sclavonia, Galitzia, Lodomeria, and of Illyria; King of Jerusalem and Prince of Acre; Archduke of Austria; Grand Duke of Tuscany and Cracow; Duke of Lorraine, of Salzburg, of Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, and the Bukovina; Grand Prince of Transylvania; Margrave of Moravia; Duke of Upper and Lower Silesia, of Modena, Parma and Guastalla, of Auschwitz and Zator, of Teschen, Friuli, Ragusa, and Zara; Count of Habsburg and Tyrol, of Kyrburg, Görz and Gradiska; Prince of Trent and Brixen; Margrave of Upper and Lower Lausitz, and in Istria; Count of Hohenems, Feldkirch, Bregenz, Sonnenberg; Lord of Tettnang und Argen; Lord of Trieste, of Catarro, and of the Wendish March; Grand Voivode of Serbia.

But that is by no means all - from his Habsburg descent, he can make a case for claims to the Duchy and the County of Burgundy, the Duchies of Brabant, Gelderland, Limburg, and Luxembourg; the Margraviates of Namur and of Antwerp; the Counties of Arlon, Flanders, Hainault, Holland and Zeeland, and Valenciennes; Lord of Malines, Lord of Tournai; Duke of Bar; The Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, the Duchies of Milan and Mantua, the Margraviate of Montferrat, and the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. As indicated elsewhere in this file, he stands at the end of chains of inheritence leading to the Holy Roman (Western) Empire and, in one of the supreme ironies of history the Byzantine (Eastern) Empire as well. As if this weren't enough, it should be noted as well that a Montferrat-Gonzaga inheritence also carries with it the descent of the title of King of "Romania" or Thessalia, the Latin overlordship established in 1204 as the putative suzerain to all the various little French, Italian, and Spanish lordships set up in Greece during the 13th-15th centuries. That same descent also carries with it the little Spanish Kingdom of Mallorca, and the French County of Roussillon. And it continues; see a possible Anglo-Saxon and Tsarist Russian connection.

Dr. von Habsburg formally renounced his rights to these titles in 1961; still, given this heritage, it will come as little surprise perhaps that he has taken a degree in international law and, after being allowed to return to Austria in 1966, became President of the Pan-European congress (a precursor to the current European Union) 1973-1997, a member (CSU) of the European Parliament (an outspoken advocate for inclusion of eastern European peoples then under communist rule in pan-European affairs - he has had the satisfaction of seeing this accomplished in his lifetime) and, on 13-14 January 1997, President-Emeritus of the European Union.

BAVARIA A medium sized Alpine state in southeastern Germany, established as a Kingdom in 1805. These individuals also appear as the heirs to the Jacobite claims in Great Britain and, strange as it may seem, a potential line of succession to the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.

BRAZIL The Portuguese Royal family established a place of exile in Brazil during the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, and only returned to Europe in the 1820's, leaving their former colony an independent Empire.

BULGARIA This state emerged as a dependent Principality within the Ottoman Empire in 1879. It achieved full independence in 1908. In one of history's more bizarre twists, Simeon was able to return to Bulgaria after the fall of the Iron Curtain and succeeded in becoming (July 2001-Aug 2005) Prime Minister of the nation he was monarch of as a small child.
BURGUNDY This region in west-central Europe has been akin in some ways to a spine around which much of the rest of western Europe has been organized. In it's origin, it emerged as a Dark-Ages Teutonic tribal kingdom. Next established as two different Neo-Carolingian states, it eventually became an appanage Duchy within France. In the 14th and 15th centuries, it expanded far beyond France into the Low Countries, based upon the most culturally splendid court on the continent. Shattered forever after the death of Charles the Rash in 1477, the succession and, occasionally, the title, continues to the present day.

BURMA (Myanmar) This state in Southeast Asia covers a region which has hosted numerous local kingdoms representing a diverse ethnic mix.

BYZANTINE EMPIRE The Eastern Roman Empire emerged with the final division of Imperial responsibilities in 395 CE. While the Western Empire survived but a mere 81 more years before being broken apart by newly emerging Barbarian Kingdoms, the Eastern division endured for many centuries, by times huge and imposing, at other times small and powerless. Finally destroyed after the climactic Seige of Constantinople in 1453, the last Imperial House left a number of lines of succession, lines which follow quite surprising turns. Here are possible successions, based solely on genealogical inheritence. It must be emphasized that beyond the 16th century, none of the heirs mentioned herein would have been any more than dimly aware of the implications of their remote ancestry. Nevertheless...

The CAROLINGIAN LEGACY Europe lives within the shadow - however faint at this distant time - of Charlemagne. He built from a barbarian nation a vast Empire encompassing much of western Europe. Though his Empire did not survive a third generation, it's memory gave to Europeans a sense of identity they had not had before, and within it's fragments were the cores of three of the continents most significant states: from the West Franks came France, from the East Franks came Germany, and from the Middle Franks evolved both Lotharingia (Lorraine) in the north and Frankish Lombardy (Italy) to the south. Much of the remainder of European historical and political development can be seen as the tale of the attempts by these three to define once and for all the relationship between each of them. What of the family of Charlemagne? The Carolingians wasted themselves in internecine conflict during the 9th century, until they had faded into comparative obscurity. Yet, they left heirs and, although they never had a tradition of rigidly Salic seniority, it is nevertheless a question of interest to follow the elder stemma of this clan to discover who can theoretically claim to be the elder heir to the Carolingian inheritence. The following list follows the senior lines from Charlemagne, and is based on moderately Salic progression, wherein male members are always preferred, but succession via female lines is accepted if no other recourse is possible.
CASTILE The central portion of the Iberian peninsula, Castile was an independent Spanish kingdom from 1035 until the unification of it with Aragon, to form Spain itself, effectively from 1479,officially from 1556. See also, Spain.

CHINA The Dragon Throne of the Middle Kingdom (Zhongguo) is one of the oldest monarchies in existence, in its origins reaching back more than 4100 years. Although there has not been a continuous succession, inasmuch as China has shattered into petty states with no central authority several times, the sense of continuity and the retention of ancient tradition has always been present, often characterized by a particular dynasty or regime being said to hold "the mandate of Heaven".

COURLAND (Latv. Kurzeme) A Duchy on the Baltic coast of Latvia, comprising the headlands east of the Gulf of Riga together with the south bank of the Daugava (Russ. Dvina) River. It was of old the territory of the Kuri tribe of ancient Latvians, conquered in the 13th century by the Livonian Order of Crusader Knights. The Duchy itself was formed in the 16th century when the Order became Protestant and secularized it's holdings into a Ducal fief of Poland. For a time the Dukes held a brilliant court connected with other European dynasts, but eventually the region was absorbed into Russia. The following "Pretenders" are the continued line of the dynasty, although they do not advocate a return - in 1918 the nobility of Courland discussed to give the proposed Duchy to the Birons but they explicitly refused any interest and nobles considered them being too Russophile.

EGYPT Perhaps the oldest nation on earth in terms of  a continuous memory of sovereign identity on the part of it's inhabitants, the modern Egyptian Kingdom emerged at the beginning of the 19th century as an autonomous viceroyalty within the Ottoman Empire. A British protectorate from the 1880's, it became fully independent in 1922. Despite the fact that Fuad is one of the longest-reigning Heads of Royal Houses living today, he is still comparatively hale, owing to the fact that he succeeded upon the abdication of his father to his throne at the age of 6 months, being deposed himself at the age of 17 months. Egypt is one of the few Islamic monarchies to maintain a European style of inheritance and succession.

ENGLAND The various Thrones-of-Pretence for England are now to be found HERE.

ETHIOPIA An ancient monarchy in the mountains of east Africa, with a very complex history. The monarchy was overthrown in 1974 but the exiled family is still in large numbers.

FRANCE - Imperial pretension; Elders of the House of Bonaparte (Princes Canino) These represent the senior branch of the House of Bonaparte; it was inherited by a cadet branch of the Greek Royal family in the 1960's before being passed on to a well-known Polish noble family, and now being represented by an Italian branch of the family which once ran the post office of the Holy Roman Empire.

FRANCE - Imperial pretension; Princes Napoleon These represent the Imperial Bonapartes, even though this branch of the family derives after 1879 from Jerome, the youngest brother of Napoleon I.

FRANCE - Royal pretension: The Legitimists The French royalist claims are exceedingly complex, but in essence boil down to two main lines of thought. The first is called the Legitimist position. This position regards the crown as completely inalienable, and inheritable therefore only by successive eldest stems of the House of Capet, regardless of who they might be otherwise (as long as they are of legitimate birth and Roman Catholic). Thus, when the senior branch of the French royal Bourbons became extinct in 1883, the next eldest stem , the Spanish Bourbons, inherit the title. As an aside, Louis XIX may perhaps hold a record as having one of the worlds shortest reigns - he was King of France in a very technical sense in the approximately 10 to 15 minute interval between his fathers signature on the Instrumeent of Abdication (1830) and his own signature on the same document.

FRANCE - Royal pretension: The Orléanists The line of thought in opposition to the Legitimists (see just above) involves the fact that Charles X and his heir Louis (XIX) both abdicated in 1830, and that the throne was then transferred to Louis Philippe, Duc d'Orléans. This line regards the crown as capable of being abdicated, and also regards it as vital that a successful candidate be not only of legitimate birth, and Roman Catholic in religion, but also French in nationality.
FRANCE - The Naundorff claim History is replete with tales of crowned kings dying or disappearing under muddled circumstances and, nearly always, when a royal personage meets with a bad end someone pops up shortly thereafter to claim they are that unfortunate monarch, saved by chance or by plot from a grim fate, and would you please give me my throne back now? - see Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck in English history, or the various False Dmitrys in Russian history, as typical examples. France is no exception to this process; as a result of the French Revolution and the execution of Louis XVI, his heir, also named Louis, languished in prison until his own demise from starvation and neglect, in 1795. Perhaps. In the late 1820's, a man whose legal name was Karl Wilhelm Naundorff, a clockmaker from Berlin, wrote a memoir claiming he was the lost Dauphin, secreted away from prison by royalist sympathisers, who thereupon substituted a deaf-mute orphan in his place. He went on to claim that he had been recaptured by Napoleonic agents, and imprisoned once more until again escaping, in 1810 - which year, in fact, he first appears in public records, receiving Prussian citizenship while living in Spandau. He couldn't prove any of this story, but he was sufficiently plausible in his knowlege of details regarding court personalities and activities to have convinced several members of the ancien regime of his legitimacy. Surviving members of the royal family would have none of it, however, and his claim did not prosper. He didn't relinquish it, though, even after being exiled to Great Britain, and when he died in the Netherlands (in somewhat doubtful circumstances) in 1845, his family maintained the claim, and they still do to this day. So, for completeness sake, here is the Naundorff succession...

GEORGIA After the death of David XII, last king of East Georgia (Kartli & Kakheti), by edict of emperor Alexander I of Russia, seniority among Georgian princes was given to the family of Bagration-Mukhranskiy, the branch of the Bagratid dynasty descended from princes of Mukhrani. As an interesting aside, Giorgi XIII's daughter Leonida married Vladimir Kirillovich Romanov (d.1992), head of Russian Imperial House. Their daughter Maria is present head of Russian Imperial House, which see, below...

GERMANY (and PRUSSIA) The Kings of Prussia became for a time Emperors of Germany after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Georg has, in fact, two older brothers, but they have resigned their rights.

GREAT BRITAIN The Great Britain article is now to be found HERE.

GREECE The two ordinal numbers given are owing to the fact that the Hellenic sovereigns are conscious of their Byzantine heritage, and often indicate as much by ennumerating themselves according to the Mediaeval Emperors.

HAWAII The Hawaiian Islands were unified as a Kingdom in the early 19th century, previous to which they had been partitioned intro local chieftaincies and clan-oriented petty Kingdoms, as was the case with most Pacific islands. Hawaii endured as a sovereign monarchy for over 80 years, but under increasing pressure from European and American interests, the Kingdom failed, and was replaced by a wholy-subservient republic - that, too, was dissolved and the islands became an American possession. The Royal Family still exists, however...

HANNOVER A Kingdom in northwestern Germany, based on the Duchy of Braunschweig-Luneburg, and notable as being represented by a cadet branch of the family which became the British Royal Family 1714-1901. The pretenders still retain the right to petition the British government to restore the title of Duke of Cumberland, lost during World War I. The Kingdom itself fell to Prussia as a result of the Austro-Prussian conflict, but compliance to Prussian interests gained Ernest Augustus III  an allodial Braunschweig Duchy (Wolfenbuttel) for a short time before and during the first World War.

INDIA The subcontinent of India has seen many empires and states during its very long history. From the 16th century to the 19th, most of what is now India was governed by a Muslim dynasty of Central Asian origins; the Mughals. They gradually lost control over much of India as Hindu nationalists (particularly the Marathas) and European colonizers succeeded in asserting themselves in the provinces - the dynasty was deposed in 1858 by the British, following the Sepoy Mutiny.

IRAN An ancient monarchy whose distant antecedents stretch back into the Classic Age and beyond.

ITALY Umberto was on the throne for only a brief time, following the abdication of his father (who died later the same year) but previous to the elections which dissolved the monarchy. Victor Emmanuel IV recently (2002) signed an agreement recognizing the Republic as the valid government of the state, in order to be allowed to return to Italy. This action has incensed some Italian monarchists, who regard it as nothing short of an abdication. Nevertheless, he remains the head of the Family, and supported by other Italian monarchist groups who regard the declaration as nothing more than a convenience.

JERUSALEM The ancient Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem has exerted a subtle fascination to Europeans since its inception in 1099. While the City was lost to Muslim forces in 1244, the title to the state was retained by various monarchs, and the claims and counterclaims to its proper succession are exceedingly complex. There are three main lines of thought here; all derive ultimately from the claims of Frederick II, King of Germany and (1220-1250) Holy Roman Emperor. He managed to gain control over the Holy Land in 1225, passing it on to his heirs in 1228. His son  (Conrad, 1228-1254) saw the loss of the city and re-establishment of the Kingdom at Acre in 1244. His son, Conradin, was putative King of Jerusalem from 1254 until his unfortunate end in 1268. At that point, the fun begins...

KASHMIR A mountain kingdom at the extreme northern end of the Indian subcontinent. An ancient land, it had fallen under foreign dominance from the late 16th century. It re-emerged in the mid-19th century, and took its place among the many quasi-sovereign Indian states of the British Raj. When Great Britain granted independence to India in 1947, the Indian princes were put under heavy pressure to accede to the new regime and place their territories under the authority of the republic - the maharajah of Kashmir determined, however to retain a seperate independence. However, the region became embroiled in the exploding conflict between India and Pakistan as Pakistani troops and guerrillas invaded Kashmir in the hopes of seizing it. The situation made complex owing to the fact that while the maharajah was Hindu, a great many of his subjects were Muslim - he was forced to seek immediate aid from India, whose price was dissolution of the monarchy and annexation to India. Indian and Pakistani troops clashed, and formed the de facto frontier line running through the land which exists to this day. Neither India nor Pakistan have given up claims to the region, but in 2006 diplomatic efforts brought a more stable cease-fire and a renewal of cross-border contacts.

KOREA A mountainous peninsula off the coast of northeastern Asia, inhabited for ages by the Korean people. Often referred to as the Hermit Kingdom owing to it's insular and isolationist policies, it was dragged into the 20th century through a long sequence of horrific events - first foreign occupation, followed by war and a partition which exists to this day.

LAOS An ancient kingdom in the northern interior of southeast Asia. Placed under French colonial authority in the 1880's, and conquered by Japan during the Second World War, the monarchy survived into full independence in 1953. But as a result of the chaos engendered by Cold War rivalries in Southeast Asia in the 1970's, the monarchy collapsed. The royal family was placed in a Pathet Lao "re-education camp", and the king and his son starved to death - two of his grandsons escaped, however, on a palm-leaf raft across the Mekong into Thailand.

LIBYA A kingdom for awhile following independence in December of 1951.

MALLORCA This is the largest of the Balearic Isles, in the Western Mediterranean, situated between Minorca to the east and Ibiza to the southwest. In the Middle Ages, these islands and a mainland district - the County of Rousillon in southern France, constituted a petty Kingdom of sorts, established after the Aragonese won them from Muslim occupation. The Kingdom didn't last very long; during an episode of consolidation in the 14th century, Aragon seized the islands and deposed their King. But, he had heirs and descendents...

MEXICO Mexico has had two monarchic governments. Though neither lasted very long, the monarchic tradition has not been forgotten here. The Iturbide Emperor was a conservative upper-class 2nd generation Mexican who took a leading part in wresting independence from Spain. The history of his reign is a cautionary example of why it is never wise to select as sovereign someone who other members of his class regard as no better than themselves. Driven out of Mexico after nine months, he returned the next year but was summarily executed. The Mexican government subsequent to the 1820's proved very unstable, and in the 1850's a reform movement headed by Benito Juarez took hold of the state. Because Juarez suspended debt payments (to Europe but not the United States), conservative elements aided by France were able to install the Second Empire, headed by an Austro-Hungarian prince who, it was felt, would act the part of an amiable cipher. Maximilian was anything but, however and after a time France withdrew support at just the time when Juarez' forces, assisted by the USA (the Civil War had just ended, leaving America with one of the largest and most battle-hardened armies in the world), returned.

MEXICO - The Aztec descent Mexico is a very old state; there have been large imperial states in the central highlands for many centuries. The Spanish conquest of the region imposed a new culture and political framework, but by no means extinguished the people themselves - in fact, descendants of the pre-Columbian dynasty survived, and some eventually became ennobled within the Spanish peerage.

MONTENEGRO Here is list of pretenders after they were deposed in 1918. Nikola I left Montenegro in 1917, and was dethroned in 1918. But the Kingdom of Montenegro continued in exile until 1922 when Montenegro was internationally recognized as part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes - what would become Yugoslavia a few years later.
NAVARRE Navarre, a small region straddling the Spanish/French frontier near the Bay of Biscay, was once the most powerful Christian kingdom in Spain; however, when it was cut off from Islamic territories by the expansion of Leon-Castile to the west and Aragon to the east, it grew insular. In 1512 Spain seized most of the kingdom. But the Navarrese sovereigns and their heirs continued to govern a pocket regality in far southwestern France, in Bearn, based at Pau (note also, in virtue of the fact that these were Comtes de Foix, Navarre was conjoined with the secular co-Princes of Andorra). In 1589, King Henry III of Navarre became King Henry IV of France. In 1620, France formally incorporated the remainder of Navarre into France, though the French kings continued to use the title.

NEPAL A Himalayan nation, the modern state dates from the unification of core provinces in 1769, but there has been a definable nation here for ages. The monarchy has been revered by the populace, although it lost much day-to-day authority to a clan of hereditary viziers from the 1840's. In a series of sharp struggles between the Royal dynasty and the Vizieral clan in recent times, the  Royals emerged victorious, but in 2001, the monarchy imploded catastrophically. On June 1 of that year, the crown prince apparently assassinated his father the king, his mother, and his brother and sister, and then committed suicide, lingering for 3 days as technically king before dying. His uncle then assumed control - he could have restored confidence in the monarchy, but was unable - an uncharismatic man widely seen as grasping, insensitive, and autocratic, he was rumoured to have had a hand in some manner in the assassination. He assumed sweeping powers in order to deal with a Maoist insurgency, but gradually lost control of affairs, his reign ending in a complete victory by the Communists and the declaration of a republic.

NEUCHÂTEL Nestled between France and Switzerland is the Canton of Neuchâtel. A county within the Holy Roman Empire, it was raised to the status of Principality in 1643 and, 5 years later, followed the Swiss Confederation (with which it had had a long formal connection with) in becoming fully independent of the Empire. For the next 209 years it was a sovereign state with special ties to Switzerland. In 1848 it adopted a republican form of government (the Princes retaining certain rights and privileges), and in 1857 it was fully integrated within Switzerland.

NORWAY The Kingdom of Norway is one of the oldest European monarchies in existence today, having in it's origins evolved out of a welter of local Norse tribal and clan chieftaincies at the end of the 9th century. In early times, the succession in Norway was more a matter of tanistry than regular genealogical inheritence, and so it is nearly impossible to assign with any clarity putative heirs before the 13th century. The Sudreim claim There is an alternative to the above, and in fact a number of the holders of this claim have attempted to gain the throne, been offered the throne and refused, or have at least been commonly acknowleged as having a connection to the claim. As indicated above, King Haakon V had but one legitimate child, his daughter Ingeborg. When it became apparent that the hereditary succession must pass through her, an agreement was constructed which recognized the rights of succession to her descendants - however, a codicil inserted in the document required that in the event of Ingeborg's descendents becoming extinct, succession would then pass through any legitimate descendents of Haakon's illegitimate daughter Agnes Haakonardottir. This provided an excuse to put forth alternative claims whenever a strand of the Ingeborg line died out (even though there might be other collateral lines). In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Sudreim claimancy wandered among various descendents whenever an opportunity or crisis occured, but by the later 15th century, a distinct lineage had generally been recognized by those who knew the genealogies, even though it did not, as it happens, represent the senior stemma of the Agnes descendency.

The OTTOMAN EMPIRE The largest Islamic state in near-modern times, the Ottomans at the height of their power governed all the Levant, North Africa, the Balkans, and Mesoptamia. Regarded as "the sick man of Europe" during the 19th century (a reasonably accurate assessment for the times, as it was increasingly frail and ossified in the face of burgeoning European influence), it ironically survived, albeit for only a few years, the European Empires who were it's most persistent opponents, Austria and Russia. The Osmanli family is one of the few Islamic dynasties to maintain a law of succession that resembles European practice.
POLAND-LITHUANIA Emerging as a viable state in the 10th century, during the high Middle Ages and Renaissance Poland was conjoined in personal union with Lithuania, and became thereby one of the largest and most powerful states in Europe, encompassing much of what is the modern nation as well as Lithuania, Belarus, and most of the Ukraine. In 1569 Poland was converted from a hereditary to an elective monarchy (the last hereditary Polish king was pressured into reforming the government owing to his childlessness and also because of severe military threat from Russia), and in fact the state was self-described as a rzeczpospolita, a republic, although the chief executive retained the title of Krol, King. Notwithstanding such, Sigismund II did, in fact, have relatives who could have pressed a claim to the throne had circumstances played out differently...

PORTUGAL The House of Bragança-Viseu is a cadet branch of the original Royal family; during the second half of the 19th century the monarchy had been in the hands of a German House (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the same House that held Bulgaria and holds Great Britain - see also Jerusalem) which had inherited the elder stem of the Royal House.
PORTUGAL At an earlier time than the above entry, Portugal suffered a massive succession crisis, in 1580, which resulted in the takeover of the kingdom by Philip II of Spain - Portuguese autonomy wasn't recovered until 1640. Briefly, the crown had been held by Sebastian, a deeply unstable neurotic whose chief desire was to lead a crusade against the Moors - he was killed in a battle in North Africa, leaving no heir. The Crown was inherited by a 66-year old Cardinal, who died after two years. At that point, the succession became exceedingly muddled, and five contenders leaped forward to claim the prize; the king of Spain was one of them, and his cause prevailed. Genealogically, though, the nearest legitimate heir was a neice of the aforementioned Cardinal; she had died by 1580, but she had left descendents in the north Italian family of Farnese...
There is a variant to this succession - it is based on the nearest legitimate heir to Cardinal Henry, but there was a closer heir, of a sorts. Henry had an older brother, Luiz, Duque de Beja, who left an illegitimate son, Antonio, who became Prior of Crato. Antonio became one of the five Contenders in 1580 and, though unsuccessful, never relinquished his pretension; and he left issue himself. Ordinarily, I would ignore the claims of an illegitimate cleric, but in Portugal's case, the accession of a line deriving from illegitimate offspring of an earlier sovereign is something of a tradition - the House of Aviz was a relict of Burgundy, and House of Bragança was a relict of Aviz. So, here is a potential (if highly speculative) succession which did, in fact, assert claims throughout its duration.

ROMANIA Michael was superceded as a small child by his father in the 1930's, but returned during the second World War, only to be redeposed by the Communists.

RUSSIA The Russian Imperial House has a great many branches, and a potential Tsar may be determined in several different ways, depending on how one gives weight to various claims. What follows is one possible interpretation, based on a fairly strict interpretation of what constitutes legitimacy - but there are a number of other interpretations which could be made.

SAXONY A small Kingdom in eastern Germany, established in 1806.

SCOTLAND The Scotland article is now to be found HERE.

SPAIN These are the Carlist Pretenders, a faction of the Royal Family who felt that when Ferdinand VII died the Crown should have gone to his brother Carlos, Count of Molina, rather than his daughter Isabella. See also: Castile.

SWEDEN Although Sweden has been for the past two centuries something of a watchword in examples of stable European societies, it's relationship to it's individual sovereigns, and whole dynasties, has often been turbulant and sometimes chaotic in past eras. The Swedish nobility and commons have had a long history in modifying, disrupting, or overthrowing regimes that didn't meet with their expectations, and there are a number of instances where Swedish history would have developed differently had dynastic inheritences been permitted to flow without interference. Another question in Swedish dynastic history concerns alternatives to the emergence of the current dynasty, Bernadotte, in the early 19th century. It is a common fantasy that the true heir to a throne is some obscure personage living in relatively modest circumstances. In point of fact, though, perusal of most of the lists on this page will show that higher nobility and royals (putative or actual) tend to intermarry amongst themselves, leading to condensing of lines into well-known paths (often enough, seemingly, ending in Otto von Habsburg). Nevertheless, every now and then a traceable line running through middle or lesser nobility can be found. Below is one such; a possible succession from a Mediaeval Swedish dynasty which falls into no famous European dynsties at all. Yet note, descendents of the Sverkings run all through subsequent Swedish history - among them (though not senior representatives of the elder line) were the regents Sten Sture the Elder, Sten Sture the Younger, and Gustavus Vasa, later King as Gustav I.
The KINGDOM of the TWO SICILIES An important Mediterranean state comprising the island of Sicily and the southern third of the Italian Peninsula. Emerging out of a welter of Norman lordships established both on the mainland and the island during the latter 11th century, the Kingdom of Sicily was founded in 1130. The Kingdom of Naples was established in 1285, and thereafter the two were sometimes united and sometimes separated. In personal union from 1718, following the Napoleonic interruptions the two were reunited and, in 1816, were constituted a single state, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Although the king was twice offered the south in a division of Italy into southern and northern states during the Risorgimento, he refused, and both Sicily and the Naples fell to forces loyal to the new Italian state.

TUNISIA Although the modern Tunisian Kingdom barely got underway after independence from the French in 1957 before being dissolved by republican forces, Tunisia nevertheless has a very long tradition of monarchic rule. Here are the successors to Tunisian royalist claims.
TUSCANY The Grand Duchy of Tuscany was a compact state in north-central Italy, extending from the Appenines west across the Arno watershed and south over the Metallifere Hills, down to the coast facing Corsica. It encompassed  Pistoia, Pisa, Siena, Arezzo and, above all, Florence. Considered by some as the birthplace of the Renaissance, it's best-known family, the De'Medici, ruled the Florentine Republic nearly continuously from 1421, became Dukes of Florence in 1531, and Grand Dukes of Tuscany in 1569. The De'Medici became extinct in 1737, and the state was granted to the Lotharingian dynasty of Vaudemont who had at the same time inherited the vast Austrian Habsburg legacy. Treated gently as an allodial possession, after the Napoleonic interruptions Tuscany was granted to a cadet branch of the Lorraine-Habsburgs, but was absorbed by the newly formed Italian state in 1860. The very last Holy Roman Emperor, Franz II, was born in Florence, and grew up in this sunny and pleasant land.

UNITED STATES of AMERICA, The EMPIRE of the... No archive dealing with this sort of subject matter can resist at least a comment on the Empire of Joshua Norton. I resisted for a long while, but have been persuaded that there is relevance here. The Regnal Chronologies archive concerns itself with questions of sovereignty, and Norton's experience is directly apropos such an issue. He was a South African subject who emigrated to the western United States in the first half of the 19th century. He settled in California, but lost his considerable investments and became a penniless beggar on the streets of San Francisco. After this experience, he became increasingly eccentric, and in 1859 grandly issued a document proclaiming himself to be Emperor of the United States. He is presumed by many to have been driven to a delusional state of mind by his vicissitudes, but there is some question regarding that; others aver that he simply assumed his title and thereafter behaved "to the manner born" as a deliberate lifestyle. The truth of the matter is largely irrelevant, because his reign was gleefully accepted by San Franciscans - his edicts were published and commented upon in the papers, his privately printed Imperial scrip was accepted as legal tender by merchants, and he became a familiar figure to all. Only once did any official attempt to place him under custody as an insane vagrant, the attempt was roundly condemned by all and Norton was swiftly released - he magnanimously issued patents of nobility to those officials responsible for rescuing him. When he died, his funeral cortege is said to have extended two miles. The point here is that humans maintain leaders because we permit such individuals to assume their positions. Sovereignty is a psychological condition in which both rulers and ruled assume particular roles, and I would assert that Norton's "rule" included many of those symbols and behaviours. I realize that it is a special case, inhabiting a gray area - Norton's subjects didn't cease paying taxes to the Federal government, or refused to serve in the military during the Civil War. But his story still makes the point that if you call yourself a King, and those around you don't disagree, you are in some sense or other a sovereign.

VIETNAM An ancient monarchy in Southeast Asia, Vietnam (or, more properly, Dai-Viet or Annam) has had a long and exceedingly complex history, by times a regional superpower and at other times a client province of one or another of it's neighbours. The modern state emerged in the 1780's out of a welter of local kingdoms present during a time of disunity extending c. 1533-1787.

WÜRTTEMBERG A German Duchy which was raised to the status of Kingdom in 1805. It is located in southwestern Germany, east of Baden and west of Bavaria. The line recognized below is by no means the most senior of the family, but all elder branches are now foreign nationals or the products of morganatic marriages requiring surrender of succession rights.

YUGOSLAVIA (and SERBIA) During the Second World War, Yugoslavia was dismembered and Petar retained only Serbia as a Kingdom - a settlement at the behest of Germany he never accepted or acknowledged from his place of exile in London. His heirs maintain the claim to greater Yugoslavia, following the reconstruction of the state under Communist governance following the defeat of the Axis powers. **************************************************

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